The OVO signed duo in conversation, with each other.
First meeting at the University of Toronto in 2011, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman made their combined debut under the moniker Good People with a Souncloud release, before dropping the first Majid Jordan single in 2014. Somewhere in-between they co-produced Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” – signing with OVO shortly after.
Next week the pair’s second album, The Space Between lands, so to celebrate we asked them to interview each other. Because what better way to get the inside scoop…
Majid: Jordan, first of all, how you doing?
Jordan: I’m good, what are you saying?
Majid: I’m good, I’m enjoying Monday, it’s freezing here in Toronto right now. How does it feel when you wake up all of a sudden and the weather’s completely different, does it make you want to stay in and make music, or do you want to go out? I kind of want to stay in. Jordan: Yeah I just want to stay in bed today. It’s cold out, it’s bad. It’s like what, 4 degrees?
Majid: Yeah, I just feel like when the weather changes all of a sudden…
Jordan: Yeah, any time when the weather changes all of a sudden I just kind of want to stay at home to work on projects. Okay I got a question for you, who’s someone you can’t stop listening to right now and why?
Majid: The artist Frank Ocean. It’s just crazy, he’s amazing. The weather changed, and Frank Ocean right now is helping a lot with it.
Jordan: I agree, it’s beautiful. It’s such a good album.
Majid: That’s a good question.
Jordan: Thank you very much. When you’re in the studio, what’s your favourite drink?
Majid: Oh when I’m in the studio what’s my favourite drink? Good question. So I write a lot in this studio that’s above this juice bar in Toronto, and then in the summer time I get this watermelon like, fresh juice drink, and then in the winter I drink this cashew or milk juice thing, those are my favourites, the one above the organic press. Definitely.
Jordan: What’s your favourite food, if you had to eat a food in the studio, and make some crazy shit what would you eat?
Majid: I love Moroccan food – couscous right now. That’s like my number one feel good food that I’ve been eating a lot. It changes, but right now that’s definitely my thing. We did a huge festival round this summer, which was your favourite?
Jordan: Oh man, Lulapalooza was crazy, Osheaga was crazy, Coachella was incredible, oh man there’s so many. I feel like every single one was unique in its own way.
Majid: I feel like we got to Coachella, that was one of the earliest ones, and that was a really special moment. I dunno, it just felt like you’re at this huge festival. And Osheaga felt really special, I have no idea why, it was raining, the show might have been called off, we had to get everything back on the stage and there were people waiting outside for us in the rain. But then we came out and the crowd was so loud and so big, and it was just a really good memory for me.
Jordan: Yeah I would say Osheaga, Lulapalooza and Coachella were the top three. How do you think you’ve changed as a writer from the start to this point?
Majid: I think the writing is a little more vivid on this album, you know trying to paint pictures of certain songs. There’s different like, moods in the songs. Some are self-reflective, some are taking you in and trying to describe an environment and our place in the environment, some of them are love songs from a different perspective that I haven’t spoken about before. I think yeah, just more vivid and more moving in different directions. And not just trying to focus on one mood, trying to see how a mood can shift in the beginning and then kind of grow into something and then go back to that original thought. If you didn’t do music, what would you be doing?
Jordan: Sleeping. That’s one of those general questions but really I have no idea. And I feel like that’s a great thing, you know? It’s like crazy, there’s just a black hole in my head, I don’t know. If you weren’t, what would you be doing?
Majid: I feel like if I wasn’t doing music I’d be looking for a way to do music. Whatever it was that I would be doing I’d be trying to find my way towards that, because I’ve been in that situation before where I was unable to make music and I was still looking for a way to express myself musically. Toronto – I came to a city where that would be possible, and met people that produced music, and that led me to meeting you and us doing what we do today. I feel like in some way I would have found the root that would bring me back to making music ‘cause I feel like that’s who I am.
Jordan: Exactly, it might not be on a professional level but I feel like I would be there still trying to keep it in my life.
Majid: 100%. I’d be looking for a way to make it my life. Who are your heroes?
Jordan: Next question. Who are your heroes?
Majid: My heroes? Not including you? You’re one of my heroes.
Jordan: I mean I was gonna go there but…
Majid: Noah “40” Shebib, I think is one of my heroes. He’s our mentor. Changed just the way we look at life, and the way we work with one another and try to develop ourselves and stay committed, and you know just really taught us how to focus on ourselves and still create. And we’ve seen him go from recording in a room, to recording in an apartment, to recording in a studio, to recording in a studio that he built, a complex that he lived in, to like, getting his own place and having that professional place, like there are so many versions of that. It’s something that we really look towards as inspiration moving forward, because of him we’re on such a good track, so he’s definitely one of our heroes. It’s the same with Jordan.
Jordan: Yeah definitely. I would also say my first piano teacher, Kathy, is just like a real hero.
Majid: Yeah I met her, she’s amazing.
Jordan: My high school music teacher was another one of my real heroes. I don’t know, my heroes right now like while I’m thinking – for music, anyone who’s really pushed me, mentored me to do that, the first people. You’re [Majid] a hero as well you know. Hero is pretty synonymous for music. Musical heroes and our music.
Majid: What’s your favourite song on the album right now?
Jordan: Right now my favourite song on the album is “You”.
Jordan: Yeah. Don’t you like that song too?
Majid: I don’t know, I’ve been listening to “Gave Your Love Away” a lot.
Jordan: No, no. The thing about it is though the album is ours…
Majid: That first song on the album hits me! “Not That You” isn’t crazy too because that’s like a transition part of the album pretty much.
Jordan: I was driving my car last night back to my place, and there was a good five minutes when I was on the highway, and I was like this is a crazy driving song! The way the bass comes in and what she was saying you know, I won’t give too much away but man. I love that right now.
Majid: If you could meet one music great who’s no longer with us, who would it be?
Jordan: David Bowie.
Majid: Likewise, though I don’t know why. I had a dream that I was going to meet him, it was the weirdest thing, I had a dream I was going to meet David Bowie for some reason, it’s just the way he’s always been in my life – my mum always really looked up to him, always spoke so highly of him. There just seemed to be great things about him, like he was a great, genuine person. And I dreamed I was going to meet him.
Jordan: He’s a hero too man. Definitely being exposed to Stardust.
Majid: Just the way he approached everything, from what he wore on stage, to how he spoke, and when you watch the way he gives interviews, he really considers every question.
Jordan: Yeah, I grew up always knowing that David Bowie was a rock star, like through my parents who also loved David Bowie, the way they talked about him though was just like, that he was so well put together, you knew exactly what he wanted to do, he was so decisive.
Majid: And I read somewhere that he never had like a huge chart hit album, for like 20 years or something, I’m not sure, but his legacy is undeniable, so it’s like nowadays we’re all here with all this mention of charts and numbers and everything like that – I totally see that side of it – but music can still totally live without it. I was watching a series the other day and his song came on, and it changed the whole mood of the whole scene.
Majid Jordan’s new album, The Space Between, is out on the 27th October; catch the duo on tour next year.